COVID19 Our Lives Matter

COVID19 Our Lives Matter

I’ve been watching as the world turns and evolves and grapples with the devastating crisis for which there is no cure. Lives are changed forever–and some are lost–leaving grieving families and friends, wondering what happened. Though I am not a health expert or scientist, I can say with confidence, this didn’t have to be this way.

When it was first known–with the confirmed case in November in Wuhan, it should have been taken seriously and every effort made to make sure the loss of lives was mitigated by attempts to thwart the spread of the virus–not deny its existence. The denial of its existence and refusal to address the damage the virus could cause is the reason we are seeing what we see now in America.

When will the lives of human beings become more important than a election to trump? Oh, he’s doing “something” now, but what he could have done when he was first told of the possibility of widespread contagion and didn’t do, will never make up for the lives lost. And the first thing he did–dismantling the agency that could have prepared America for this pandemic–should have been a red flag about his incompetence. Anyone supporting his position right now is just as guilty of murder as he is.

What we don’t need is a petty, grudge-mongering self-indulgent narcissistic bully in charge of anything that has to do with this crisis. America deserves to have leadership who at least understands the importance of having experts direct the path we take to navigate us to victory, with the least number of lives lost in the process. What we don’t need is a pathological liar who blames everything he did wrong on others. What we don’t need is a bloated egotistical orange menace trying to explain anything.

What we need is strong leadership capable of assessing the situation and doing what’s right, no matter who does it. Now is not the time for egos to rise to the surface–whoever comes up with a viable solution should be welcomed, no matter what their political party affiliation. We need appropriate supplies for our healthcare system and workers, tests for those who need to be tested and a populace who takes the warnings and admonitions seriously. We cannot stop a virus from spreading if we’re not willing to do our part to keep it from spreading.

STAY HOME!  STAY HOME! STAY HOME! BY STAYING HOME, WE SAVE LIVES–OURS AND OTHERS!

What we really need in this situation (aside from appropriate medical care) is a wealth of common sense exercised in every community. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the more we isolate ourselves from potential harm, the fewer lives will be at risk of contracting this virus.

The stories–of lost lives and hurting families are numerous–primarily because families didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to those afflicted and died. We can do better folks. We must do better. Use technology to communicate with others rather than attempting to congregate in public places where the virus can attach itself. If we exercise a little wisdom now, we’ll have plenty of time to gather together when the decline of the virus is known and we can all breathe a little easier.

This is not a great time for any of us–most can’t stand to be isolated–but we must do, what we must do, because our lives matter. We must listen to the experts, not the know-nothing menace in the WH!

 

 

Politically Engaged

Politically Engaged

Looking back at the year 2019, I must admit, I was more engaged in the political arena than I ever thought possible. Though I was politically inspired to run for president in 2020 (reaction to trump in 2017) and motivated to support candidates in 2018, I never thought I’d actually run for an office. Although I didn’t win the seat for City Council, I gained so much more—friends, experience, and respect from the residents of Eastpointe (at least that’s the way they make me feel). And of course—support from family is always appreciated.

First of all, I attended my first swearing-in-ceremony for our Governor in January of 2019 and later that night, attended her inaugural ball. What a blast—from freezing outside in the morning to enjoying the glitz of the evening.

Later, in the same month, I was inspired to run for a seat on our City Council during a meeting with our State Representative, Kevin Hertel. I knew there were two seats open and knew one would be retained by the incumbent, and thought I had a shot at the other.

Thanks to the help of Robert Roscoe (who became my campaign treasurer), we were able to obtain the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot and from that point on—my life was a bit of a whirlwind. I was also serving as the secretary for our 9th Congressional District, secretary for the South Central Macomb Democratic Club, secretary of the Official Democratic Black Caucus of Macomb County and on the executive board of the Macomb County Democratic Committee. I also learned how to get endorsements by other groups

I began attending City Council meetings in 2017 and was even appointed to our Zoning Board of Appeals in 2018. Attended a class to enhance my understanding of what the role entailed and met Cliff Wilson (a really great guy), who was also in the class.

Did I mention that I also started working for the Eastpointe Community Schools District? Well, I did and met the most awesome women anyone could ever hope to meet—Karen Beltz, Michelle Dyrval, Helen Lee and Laurie Jeffries. Not that the others at the school weren’t awesome as well, but these were the women with whom I worked,  on a daily basis. During my short tenure at that school—we had a blast and I am so thankful for meeting them and still enjoying their company when possible.  They did not hesitate to support my political ambitions and I’ll be forever grateful to them.

The run for City Council entailed so much more than I’d thought about, but I was up for the challenge. Filed paperwork, opened bank account and ACTBlue Account, and planned a fundraiser, as well as attended others. I attended school board meetings, council meetings, city events, marched in parades, and trekked about the city wearing out two pair of gym shoes starting on a third pair. I participated in candidate forums, completed questionnaires, and was interviewed by local newspaper and television reporters, as well as an independent filmmaker (released later this year in 2020). I had meetings with residents on a regular basis, ramped up my social media accessibility for all and marveled at all the people I met—online.

There were people online (especially Facebook) who didn’t appreciate my campaigning on community group pages, but then there were awesome defenders of my campaign—Lauren Tossey immediately comes to mind, along with Laura Pagels and Jeanne Trice. And after that, a number of residents—Frank Accavitti, Phil DiMarialet, and others, let me know they supported my efforts.

During this time, I also became a block captain involved with our Eastpointe Neighborhood Watch Program—that’s how I met Laura and Jeanne and other residents on our three block area. I have the best neighbors in the world! And those in the NWG are the best. For “First Responders Day,” we provided our fire department with a meal and with a plea to assist, many of the block captains participated in providing a “Thanksgiving Meal” to our police and fire department.

Additionally, I met many people on the NextDoor community site. Tom Klawender will be a lifetime friend along with others, Gayle, Victoria, Danielle Gaston, Devi, Carol, Rhonda—and so many more, I can’t even remember everyone’s name at the present moment. And then there are is my Twitter Family (numbering over 9K) that were encouraging and supportive of my efforts in my political run. My social media family makes me realize how blessed I truly am.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t win the seat, but my determination to keep my promise, being a voice for the community, has put me on a different path—one I know I’ll enjoy and with the help of the residents, I know we’ll make a difference in this city. Here are the thoughts of one resident, posted on her page on Facebook and had me in tears:

I could be here the rest of the year ( ) writing about all the people that made 2019 better.

I’m going to keep it to one aspect and two people.

When I was in college, I had a professor in my ‘State and Local Government’ class who exhorted us to pay more attention to our local leaders, as what they did would have more of an impact on our daily lives than anything done on a federal level. He was right. Most of us can’t even name their Mayor or State Representative, but can tell you everything they like, or don’t like, about the President.

Keeping this in mind, both Ril Brozowski and Mary Hall-Rayford have reminded me of Professor Jarvis’ words from almost 40 years ago.

Ril for making Dania and I aware of the ‘players’ on our City Council, and for giving us some great advice PRN during our local elections this year.

Mary was a candidate for City Council this year. Unfortunately she did not win, but that has not slowed her down. Mary has some great insight into character and she has continued to be involved in the community. She makes herself available to all.

These two are the people the Prof spoke of and they have inspired me to heed his words….even if it has taken me years to do so!   Comment by Sue Fancett

So, this is how the year ended—with me in tears reading what a resident thought of me.

Now, I’m more determined than ever to make sure Eastpointe Residents have a voice in our local government—someone who will stand up for and with them as we move forward in becoming the Family Town—that embraces all.

1st responders day

Educating Voters

Educating Voters

maryhallrayford

Status-quo politics won’t change until those voting change–educating themselves about the candidates! The sooner we all realize that nothing in politics is going to change until we change, the better off we’ll be–with people in elected offices who will get things done.

Far too often, the voting electorate is stymied by the multitude of candidates for any elected office and instead of educating themselves about the candidates and the issues they promote, they simply rely upon “name recognition” or who can schmooze them the most. Let’s face it–with most of the issues, all candidates from either side of the spectrum say the same thing with a few minor differences. On the national level, everyone is talking about healthcare, jobs, education, climate change and infrastructure. On the local levels, the issues are pretty much the same with every candidate declaring how much they love where they live. But are they doing…

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Educating Voters

Educating Voters

Status-quo politics won’t change until those voting change–educating themselves about the candidates! The sooner we all realize that nothing in politics is going to change until we change, the better off we’ll be–with people in elected offices who will get things done.

Far too often, the voting electorate is stymied by the multitude of candidates for any elected office and instead of educating themselves about the candidates and the issues they promote, they simply rely upon “name recognition” or who can schmooze them the most. Let’s face it–with most of the issues, all candidates from either side of the spectrum say the same thing with a few minor differences. On the national level, everyone is talking about healthcare, jobs, education, climate change and infrastructure. On the local levels, the issues are pretty much the same with every candidate declaring how much they love where they live. But are they doing the work to demonstrate how much they love where they live?

Everyone wants a job with a living wage–one in which they only need to work one job, not two or three to survive. Everyone needs quality, affordable healthcare since none of us knows when we might fall ill or have some devastating event occur in our lives. No one wants to ride on roads that are crumbling or see railroads in need of repair or bridges deteriorating. And most sane people–want access to a quality education for their children and grandchildren–along with the hope of leaving a planet behind that will sustain life for hundreds of years to come. Those are the issues. And for us older folks–we want the government to leave our Social Security and Medicare alone!

What’s stopping us from electing the person who will work to solve all the issues? Identity politics–whether it is about party affiliation or name recognition– it is the basis for how many people vote. Some vote against everyone by writing in ridiculous names or by not voting at all. For those who practice–write-in-buffoonery or not voting–it is a vote–and probably for the person least wanted. We see the best example of that–right now.

How do we get the right people in office? We research, listen, ask questions, and evaluate what we discover–educating ourselves as to how the candidates have performed in the past (if they have previous experience), look at what they’re doing right now, and talking to them one-on-one in town halls or coffee hours on the campaign trail. A responsible electorate will not allow a person’s status to intimidate them and keep them from questioning any potential candidate. A responsible, worthwhile candidate will make themselves available to respond directly to the electorate, as often as possible.

So, to get who we want in office who’s going to work for the people, we must do our homework and do it early. We must listen to what candidates are saying to determine their message–regardless to whom they’re speaking–is consistent. We must not become–one issue voters–for when we allow the one issue to influence our decisions, we ultimately allow the wrong person to be elected. We must remember–elections have consequences--and that we will seldom agree with everything any one candidate about everything.

Many people have developed their own formula for determining how they’ll vote. Mine is simple–will I regret voting for the individual at a later date? If I can see where a candidate falls in line with at least 3/5 issues that matter to me, that’s the person I’ll choose. I can always fight for the other two at a later date. If there’s only one or two issues I agree with, I won’t vote for them–that’s too much of a risk to regret.

Since I am a political activist promoting the Democrat’s agenda, I suggest that the DNC and all of its affiliates spend some quality time educating voters about why we should put them in office and not just about voting against trump. Provide the facts, not speculation–with data easily understood. Provide a clear unified message and acknowledge room for improvement in a position on any issue. Include everyone–without a purity test–since none–no, not one–is a perfect human being. We don’t need perfect human beings–we need compassionate, empathetic, people with integrity in office–those who will govern for all the people and not just some.

As the campaign season progresses, I will continue to write about what we should be looking for in a candidate who will serve the country well and help to regain our standing on the global stage. Look for it–it will be coming on a regular basis.

truth

Objectivity vs Subjectivity

In a world in which accusations of monumental proportions exist because of prejudicial biases, it would stand to reason that one way to avoid the conflict would be to have clear, objective criteria established for selections or evaluations rather than making selections or making evaluations–subjectively (personal biased opinions).

So, let’s look at definitions–

Subjectivity–

  1. the quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
    “he is the first to acknowledge the subjectivity of memories”
    • the quality of existing in someone’s mind rather than the external world.
      “the subjectivity of human perception”

    Objectivity–

    noun

    the state or quality of being objective:

Objective Criteria

adj.

1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind; actual or real: objective reality.

b. Based on observable phenomena; empirical: objective facts.
2. Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic. See Synonyms at fair1.
So, Objective Criterion–very simply could have been established prior to the day of the interviews in order to avoid confusion and to respect the time of the interviewees.  Measurable criteria for the appointment of a person to fill a vacant seat could have included:
1) the number of council meetings a person has attended within the past 12 months
2) participation in other city positions (commissions, events)
3) engagement with the residents on a regular basis
4) extent of volunteerism in a resume
5) relevant experience indicating one’s ability to understand governance, decision-making, and analyzing information before a decision is made.
With an established objective criterion–everyone involved knows what is expected and how a decision will be made without chaos or awkwardness or the possibility of allegations of personal bias. This is what true leadership does.
Good managers/Supervisors on just about any job based evaluations on clear, measurable objective criterion, ie excessive absences is grounds for dismissal or other forms of remedy; productivity, ability to work as a team, or to promote the goals and objectives of the company.
Good teachers use more than one method of evaluating a student’s performance or improvement other than in a test. Most create a “rubric” by which measurable criterion are established and the value clearly and explicitly stated. One of the primary reasons a rubric is used in evaluation projects or writing assignments is to avoid a student’s accusation of a teacher “not liking” them and therefore they didn’t get a good grade.
Point systems–predetermined by clearly stated measurable criteria work well in the business world, as well as in classrooms.
Therefore, misunderstandings, misconcepts, or chaotic awkwardness can be avoided in the future when and if it is necessary to “appoint” someone to fill a position in which there is the possibility of personal bias influencing any decision.
According to comments noted in the November 20th edition of The Eastsider, only one council member listed a measurable criteria for anyone to be measured by in the selection process–“demonstrated dedication”–measurable by one’s actual experience and integrity.  Ideas and visions, though lofty goals, are not measurable in any quantifiable way and are prone to be judged, subjectively.
Until We Learn To Think First…

Until We Learn To Think First…

Many people are still pondering the dilemma in which we currently find ourselves. How did we get here? Where is here? We’re in the middle of a sink hole, where the erosion of our democracy is crumbling beneath us and there appears to be no way to save ourselves. We got here–to this place–in the middle of the sinking hole–because many people either refuse to think or don’t know how to think--before they vote!

How do we know? A quick review of 2016–helps those of us who are willing to think, understand how hatred and foolishness brought us here. There were those who hated Hillary Clinton so much they were willing to believe every negative piece of propaganda published and promoted about her. Then there were those who were foolish enough to allow their emotions to overwhelm a sense of duty and priority when Bernie Sanders was not the nominee–so they either didn’t vote or voted for a third–guaranteed–losing party. Had they thought about all the possible consequences of their actions–propelled without thinking–we might be in a different place. But they didn’t and we aren’t. Yes, I know the Russians played a role in the election, but does that mean, we were outsmarted by our adversaries simply because we refused to think?

I know a number of us could see right through the haze of confusing information that continued to bombard our sensibilities and did the right thing–not the party thing–the right thing. And that’s because we were thinking. I know many people who regret their actions because they refused to think their political party could lead them astray. What I’d like to know is–did it ever occur to any of them–to think about what was right or wrong, what was best for the nation?

Okay, so that happened in 2016 and people started thinking–just a little bit– in 2018 and we were able to set the nation back on course–at least in the House–bringing to a halt all of the policy decisions that devastate the poor and vulnerable. I mean, let’s face it–the only people who benefited from the “biggest tax cut ever” are the very rich, not the working class or poor and certainly not immigrants simply seeking a better life in America.

In 2019–on a local level–again the lack of thinking or at least right thinking–surfaced again. When people vote for a person because of a desire to see a particular race in office or merely on name recognition–we don’t always get the best person or even the right person in office–one who will address the needs of all, rather than just themselves.

So, here’s my solution–especially for Democrats if they want to win in 2020. Let’s stop talking “party” and start talking right and wrong, best and worst, and let’s begin with educating voters on how to research a candidate, what questions to ask them, and to think about how their lives will be impacted if a certain candidate(s) wins an election. It’s been said before and I don’t think it can said enough–Elections Have Consequences–and it’s usually the voter who suffers the consequences of their vote (or not voting) when thinking is not part of their process for making a decision.

Does the candidate demonstrate professionalism in their demeanor and interactions with others?

Is their public persona a reflection of their private persona?

Does the candidate have an understanding of the role they seek?

Will the election of their candidate cause a disruption in personal budgets? Will taxes rise?

Are they more concerned about the voters’ needs or their own?

Are they accessible to the voters?

Are they candid with voters when answering “vital” questions (not the garbage that has nothing to do with anything)?

Are they ambitiously pursuing a political career or they sincerely interested in making a difference in their local community?

Now, those are some pretty important questions when thinking about a candidate. What about the voter? What kind of questions should a voter ask of themselves? First of all, think about “motive” in choosing a candidate. Is it based upon race, age, gender or capability or simply–name recognition? Does bigotry tend to color perception of a person? What type of bias exist–within the voter–that will either impair or enhance perception of a person? None of these questions can be answered “with forethought” unless a person is willing to learn to think beyond the moment and more than just about self or feelings.

Our planet has been compromised and endangered because of people who cannot think beyond the moment. Climate change is real and having a person in the WH who only cares about making money and keeping his corporate lobbyists happy means, we’ll not long have soil in which food will grow that won’t kill us. We’ll not long have water we can drink or air we can breath without choking or coughing up the toxins in the air. That’s not the end of it–our children and grandchildren for decades to come will suffer because many of us–refused to think–before voting for someone who did not have our interests at the forefront of their plans.

The answer is very simple–every voter needs to educate themselves on the candidates and the issues and be willing to think. Democrats need to be available to educate voters who don’t know where to start finding information and promote thinking country over party, race, gender or religion. We need to learn to think before we act–gathering as much information as we can get in order to make a rational, logical decision about who gets our vote or how the issues will impact our lives. We only get one shot at selecting the right person during any election, so our one vote, must count the first time.

Until we learn to think first–we are going to allow the wrong person to be elected in just about every election–and then all we’ll have left–is complaints and fearfulness about our tomorrows. Access to the Internet, no matter which search engine is used, brings us that much closer to having sufficient information about any candidate–that will provoke thought and help us to make better decisions, in every election.

educate voters

 

Election 2019

Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to run for president and when I found out how much that would cost, I decided to run for an open seat on our city council. Now, I’ve never been overly fond of politics or politicians, but I thought I’d give it try any way. What I learned is–I was right to distrust the political machinery, even in a local election. Corruption has a stench that reaches into the hearts of small towns as well as big cities.

I followed the procedures I was given to get on the ballot–getting the required number of signatures, filing all the paperwork and having it done before deadline. On Memorial Day–2019,  I was told I had a target on my back. I heard what was said, but really didn’t give it much thought. “What can they do to me?” I thought. I knew there was nothing negative anyone would be able to find on me and if anything were publicized, it would have to be because someone made it up. Well, they did, but that didn’t stop me.

So, about a month or two before the election on November 5, 2019, I found out the plot–an 83 year-old white man who had been the former mayor and councilmember was running for the council seat because he didn’t want another African American on the council (we had one who got there by manipulation). Then things got really juicy. I was provided the man’s historical stance in trying to keep Black people out of the city–from blocking the sale of a building to a Black Church, to manipulating the Council into buying the building–only to discover once the city couldn’t afford the upkeep and had to close the building, the building ended up in the hands of a Black Church, anyway.

The name of the city was changed because it included the word, “Detroit” because some people didn’t want the association with the bigger city. About 20 years ago, the Black population was insignificant to most, but since then (around 2008), the numbers have been growing and now, it is believed that 40% of population is Black.

In 2017, the city was sued by the Department of Justice for allegedly violating civil rights voting laws. In November of 2017, a Black person was elected (primarily because of split votes between five Black candidates). In June of 2019, the city and DOJ reached a settlement–the city would use Ranked Choice Voting to establish a pathway for minority candidates to be elected. I ran, but was not successful in my bid for the seat because (viola) the plot to keep me off the council worked (name recognition).

How did it work? The “former mayor” of over 20 years ago, put out campaign signs for himself, another council candidate and a mayoral candidate. Whether others were involved remains to be discovered, but I’m guessing, someone will talk and someone else will hear about it. With the three signs put together in various locations, it gave the impression the three candidates were running as a team or slate (and since the three candidates were white, it made the DOJ lawsuit very relevant). And apparently, that’s how a number of people saw it–manipulation at work.

On election day, November 5, 2019, before the polls closed, the spouse of one of the candidates for council (the incumbent) happened to hold a conversation with a poll worker that he didn’t know, was there for me (correction–he did know). He laid out the entire plan (that was misunderstood by source). “My wife and Henry (pseudonym)  will win, and Mary will get a 1000 votes, then we’ll offer her an opportunity to apply for an appointment” (contextually, this was not reported with full knowledge and understanding of what was being said. The 1000 vote reference was about past experiences for candidates to win).

I got 1061 votes and the next day when we were given the results of the election, I was asked to consider applying for the appointment of a vacated seat. (This blog post ignited conversations–perhaps needed conversations in order to clear the air of any all misunderstandings. However, looking at the “entire” situation, without parsing–the optics were not good and possibly led to the misunderstandings, but I am yet analyzing to understand the motivation that prompted this entire discussion).

While I was considering applying, I got the word not to take it because it had been pre-planned and was possibly in violation of the Open Meetings Act. The way it was explained to me, by someone who had first-hand knowledge of the manipulative way the council worked. Some time ago, a seat was vacated and a number of people applied for the appointment. After the interviews, some were told they were sure to get it, but they didn’t. One of the interviewees found out later that a member of the council was friends with the wife of one of the interviewees and had been promised the positioned. The other person felt this was a waste of his time and since that “policy” was apparently the status quo, he didn’t want me involved with shenanigans. I’m grateful for the info.

Here’s what was offered: I would get the vote for the appointment as long as another person didn’t apply for it. I have documentation of what was said, just in case one or more of parties involved happens to read this. I love paper trails. And for those reading, before jumping to conclusions, try to understand how I perceived what I did. Being a minority, brings a certain mistrust to a number of situations and when a person “watches” what happens (not just hears), I tend to look a little closer look at everything, not just one thing. I’ve been told before that perhaps, I’m too analytical and that may be true, but being analytical means I examine all sides of an issue before drawing definitive conclusions. Note: DOJ has since responded to an inquiry by me and confirmed what I already knew–name recognition used as a means to choose candidates–will not change using Ranked Choice Voting. Basically, nothing much will ever change unless a person changes their name and that still may not work.

So, my proposal to fill the vacant seat is to appoint the person who was already voted for by the residents, rather than have 4-member council (likely divided) to try to make the decision. Based upon the “vacancy” section in the city charter, the council appoints the person to fill the vacancy–“before the DOJ settlement decree” and since the rules for voting changed, there should also be a change  in filling a vacancy since the Election Results record shows, how the next person ranked on the ballots with the residents’ input. The one thing the “plotters” overlooked is who would win the mayor’s seat, but that’s for another article. In that article, I’ll explain how “manipulation” won the day over egos. After all, the same manipulation that worked the first time around–when five Black candidates were in the race, won again–vote splitting–a winning strategy.

Too bad manipulation won’t hold seat. Tick-tock–the 6 month clock is running! Being escorted out a bar for being drunk (and I can imagine disorderly) right before an election–is not a good look and certainly not a “good representation” of self or city.

More next time! Keep watching as the “world turns and manipulation rules” in Eastpointe, MI! At the behest of the residents, I’m going to apply for the appointment and we’ll see how that works, in 2019. If it wasn’t for the residents, I’d call it a day and move on with my life–still helping where I can–but without the weight of corrupt politicism as a burden.

Author’s note: While some folks were trying to block me from winning an election out of pure racial bias, they forgot to keep watch of the mayoral candidate–who just happened to be Black–and won. Talk about Irony!